25 July 2015

Libraries and privacy in the digital age: debate highlights

FAIFE held a one-day seminar at CILIP Headquarters in London on 12 March focusing on privacy in the library environment in the age of digital information.

The emerging digital environment offers both risks and opportunities for libraries. Through familiarity with services offered by Amazon or other online information providers, users are more comfortable with sharing personal information in exchange for better, more tailored services. Yet the increasing use of mass data collection and surveillance in pursuit of national security, as well as the dangers posed by cyber criminals, mean that protecting library users’ confidentiality is becoming increasingly difficult. As the IFLA Trend Report has pointed out, can libraries still be considered truly ‘safe spaces’?

Approximately 40 invited participants from across the library and human rights communities will come together to discuss how the digital information processes are changing the way library services are delivered.


  • Access to and protection of personal data in a library setting
  • Use of metadata
  • Confidentiality
  • Monitoring and surveillance – the post-Snowden environment
  • Government and private sector approaches to collecting personal information

FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Freedom of expression, Privacy, Privacy in libraries

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